PPR.399 provides an opportunity for students to choose a topic related to some aspect of Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Religious Studies which particularly interests them, and to pursue it in depth. The topic may be related to work that is being done on a formally taught course, or it may be less directly linked to course work. The intention is that students will develop their research skills, and their ability to work at length under their own direction.

Students write a dissertation of 9,000-10,000 words. They are expected to start thinking seriously about the dissertation towards the end of the Lent term of their second year, and to submit a provisional topic by the end of that term. Work should be well advanced by Christmas in the third year. The completed dissertation must be submitted by the end of the Lent term in the third year. To help students prepare for work on the dissertation, there will be an introductory talk on topics relating to doing one's own research and planning and writing a dissertation. A course handout will be available setting out in more detail the requirements for the dissertation and giving full details of lectures, supervision arrangements and assessment.